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20 January 2012

Easy-Peasey Weight Loss Guide (for the Busy Woman)

JoggingAre you a woman of means, without responsibilities and with the time and natural self motivation to hit the gym for two hours a day before bathing in asses milk and eating only mango and lobster? No? Good! Please read on...

Us girls have a LOT to live up to these days but you know what? It's ok to take a stand and refuse to be sucked into the competitive media-fuelled ridiculousness that surrounds us. Standing up for women of all shapes and sizes is to be commended and seeing the beauty in sexy curvy girls is positively healthy and natural. However, if you would feel happier with yourself if you lost a few pounds but you are short on time, money and/or knowing where the heck to start, let me give you some pointers.

Gertie's Fool-proof Steps to Weight Loss:

  1. If I told you that all you had to do was to exercise for 5 minutes a day, 4 times a week to lose up to 5 lbs in 2 weeks would you believe me? Well you should, because you can! And this does not hang upon whether you have a personal trainer or a gym in your back garden. All you need are some stairs, one or two flights work very well. So let's begin...

    Once in your trainers set a timer to 5 minutes. I use the oven timer so I can feel like a multi-tasking domestic goddess without having to do a pinch of baking. Then run up the stairs, take it slowly to start with, and then walk back down. Repeat until your 5 minutes is up!*

    How simple is that, and it really works. This type of workout, using interval training, is fantastic for weight loss, raising fitness levels and building up stamina. The action of running up stairs also sculpts your bottom and thighs and if you suck your tummy muscles in and hold them while you're running, you also work your abs at the same time. Fab!

    * If you find 5 minutes too much to begin with, start at 3 and build it up. I don't want you to be in pain for days afterwards!

  2. Another great form of interval training can be done with an outdoor workout which will simultaneously mean you get some fresh air into your lungs and, if the sun is shining, some vitamin D to your body. This workout is longer and you need to be doing at least 3 sessions a week to see the pounds fall off. Start with a brisk walking pace to warm your body. Breath deeply. The body needs oxygen to burn fat which also works if you are at rest. Although sitting on your sofa heavy breathing between pizza slices ain't going to cut it!

    So back to the workout... Walk briskly for 5 minutes to warm up. Now we begin. RUN at approximately 90% of your full pelt capacity... For 10 seconds. (Enjoy this bit). Flail your arms and legs around as much as possible and you will feel amazingly childlike and liberated... It works I promise! Just think Phoebe from Friends but try not to do a Rachel and run into a police horse. Eyes front people! After your 10 second run is finished, walk until you catch your breath, between 1-2 minutes, then run again for 10 seconds and repeat for 15 minutes!

  3. Make sure you don't go more than three hours without eating. I've spoken about this before and it really is crucial for the following reasons:
    • Eating little and often keeps your blood sugar levels stable which in turn stops you craving sugary snacks due and cuts mid afternoon energy slumps due to suddenly plummeting sugar levels in your blood;
    • Feeding your body regularly kick starts your metabolism like spark plugs would a car battery. Who in their life hasn't started the day on a coffee and a prayer, hoping to avoid food until at the very least lunchtime in a desperate attempt to reduce their daily calorie intake. In reality, although the caffeine can fool our bodies temporarily into thinking that we are firing on all cylinders, as soon as the effects have worn off, the hunger pangs start up and we are inevitably led by the nose to the nearest sweet smelling pastries and muffins. Not only does this way of eating set us up to fail, it also slows down our metabolisms as the body thinks it is being starved and wants to conserve as much energy as possible, in the form of its existing at stores! Is all about making your body work for you.

      NB. When I say eat every 3 hours, I don't mean that you should sit down for a fry up at 8am, pie and mash at 11am, fish 'n' chips at 2pm, a kebab on your way home from work at 5pm and a take out curry at 8pm... Small meals and snacks, often are key here... Always have healthy snacks on you as you might find that you get hungry more often. This is a good thing, and when your hungry, EAT! Letting yourself get too hungry also messes with your metabolism as well as your will power!
  4. Drink two litres of water a day. Yes it's back to this old chestnut! If you are not big on drinking water and you always find it tough to get into the habit of drinking anything but G&T's on a regular basis then I have some homework for you.

    Your Body's Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj is an amazingly compelling read. This bestselling book basically outlines the breakthrough medical discovery, that if we drank more water daily degenerative diseases such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, bulimia, Alzheimer's disease and many other afflictions could be prevented and sometimes cured.

    Dr B or Dr Batman as he is affectionately named, gained his formal medical education in England at St Marys Hospital in London. He went into practice in his native Iran, but when the country became convulsed by the violent revolution that overthrew the Shah he was arrested and sentenced to death. While on death row in Teherans Evin prison he became aware of the healing powers of ordinary tap water. His discovery, and a quickly-written research paper on the subject, was to save his life. He presented his medical findings to the presiding judge at his appeal, who rescinded his sentence so he could study the issue further. I could go on and on, but I would hate to ever be called a bore! Go and get a copy, it'll change your life.

    Ooh, and drinking enough water regularly is also the most efficient and quickest way to get GREAT skin and a FLAT tummy! Is your hand empty right now? Go and get a glass of water!

  5. Eat consciously! Do you eat at your desk while working, or in front of the television in the evenings? If the answer is yes, the chances are that you are eating way more food than your bodies actually needs. And this isn't due to gluttony. It takes 5 minutes for your body to register food in your stomach after you swallow it. This inefficiency, quite frankly, means that if you eat too quickly, without chewing properly or while you're distracted by the latest soap opera story line, you'll more than likely end your meal and find that, 5 minutes later, you are stuffed to the gills and you could really have done without that last fajita, maybe even the last two.

    So how to combat this? Sit and eat somewhere quiet and calm where you can focus on what you are eating and nothing else. Make sure you chew your food properly. Now when I say this, I'm not going to give you a number of times to chew per mouthful because frankly that's really very annoying, I would just ask you to taste every mouthful and enjoy it. They key is to recognise when you stop enjoying each mouthful as this is the signal from your body to tell you that you are satisfied, you have eaten enough. And with that, STOP eating. You don't need to finish everything on your plate, and you don't need to worry about being hungry again in 5 minutes because if this happens, you can always grab something else to nibble on. We are not in wartime rationing, nor should we behave as though every meal is our last.

    A handy visual aid - your stomach is the size of your fist. You don't need huge plates of food to satisfy your hunger, focus on quality not quantity.
Now go away, implement these tips, and feel freaking fabulous about yourself... You deserve it!

Photo credit: Claudio.Ar


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